Category Archives: The Benefits of Training

2 classes prior to 12 weeks of age reduces aggression

2 classesDid you know 2 classes prior to 12 weeks of age can reduce aggression issues?

According to a study conducted by Rachel A Casey., Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 152, 52– 63, puppies that attend 2 puppy classes prior to 12 weeks of age have a reduced risk of social issues by about 1.6 times.  Wow, that is big!

There are a lot of reasons people wait before attending classes.  Here is a list.

1.  Many people still don’t know puppies should begin classes before they have completed their first set of vaccines.  The American Veterinary Behavior Association recommends puppies begin attending puppy classes by 8 weeks of age.  

2. Money 

3. They think they can do the training themselves.  Maybe they can, but it is very difficult to get in all the socialization necessary on your own.

4. Puppy charm – who can get mad at a  puppy.  At this stage, the symptoms of a problem don’t seem like an issue to the owner.

5. Time – It takes time to train a dog.  The thing is a well trained dog takes a lot less effort to live with than one that is not trained.

Owning a dog with social issues is not pleasant and does not full fill the dream most of us have for our dog.  Much of the time, the owners of dogs with this issue are stressed out and sometimes have to make dreadful, heart wrenching decisions.  In addition, many of these dogs end up with compromised quality of life, not because the owner does not want better for the dog but because the dog just is not able to cope.

We want a dog to be a companion in all aspects of our lives not just at home when we are the only ones around.  Encourage the people you know to start training classes with their puppies no later than 10 weeks of age so they can greatly reduce the probability of this issue.  If they take your advice, you will be giving them an extremely valuable gift.

Can I Afford Training?

afford trainingMost dog owners make sure they can afford veterinary care for their dog and are proactive about ensuring their dog will not become ill, but don’t understand the same commitment needs to be invested to prevent problems related to training. Owners invest in their dog’s health and their own peace of mind by taking their dog to the veterinarian for vaccines, spaying and neutering and annual checkups. Most owners understand the amount it would cost to treat their dog for an illness such as Parvo could be 10 times the cost to prevent against the disease in the first place and are willing to pay that money. In addition, most owners know the amount of emotional turmoil they would experience should their dog get sick would be great and to avoid having this upsetting event in their lives they prevent against it through preventive veterinary care. What most owners are not aware of is the cost and emotional turmoil of an untrained dog is just as great as that of an ill dog and they fail to invest in quality training or enough quality training.

Despite the fact that behavior problems are the number one cause of dogs loosing their home (re-homed, taken to a shelter or euthanized) some owners fail to invest the money and time in training their dog that is necessary to protect the other doggie investments they have made (veterinary care, the owners emotions, personal property etc.)   Much of the problem is not because of a lack of interest or desire on the owner’s part. For the most part, the reasons for not seeking out quality training or enough of it is because owners do not really understand the training process, how much time and support is necessary to reach the owners goals and do not know how to fit this into their already busy lives.

A Comparison Study On The Results Of Investing In Professionally Taught Classes.

Two sisters, Beth and Claire each bought Lab puppies from the same litter. Each puppy was healthy and received routine veterinary care. As puppies, both dogs were friendly with other dogs and people had a moderate amount of energy and desire to chew.

Beth stated from the beginning she wanted to bring her dog to class so she could socialize her dog, avoid behavior problems and get her dog to follow commands to the point in which it could go everywhere with her. Beth was proactive and began attending classes with her dog Spencer when he was 8 weeks old. Beth went to class on a regular basis for the first year of Spencer’s life. Beth not only learned how to train her dog, she had support and clarification along the way and learned how to use the training she was learning at home and in public so she did not have labor intensive training she had to do each day. Over the course of a year Beth spent about $900 on training.

Claire had trained a dog before and knew training would take some work. Claire thought she remembered much of what she had learned and did not want to spend money on training classes, so Claire supplemented her memory with some good dog training books. By the time “Lily” was a year old, Claire was at her wits end. She no longer enjoyed having a dog. At this point Claire had spent close to $2000.00 to repair or replace items Lily had destroyed, to clean the carpets and on a ticket due to Lily escaping and not coming when called. Claire could not have people over or take Lily out in public because she jumped and play nipped at people and was starting to display some inappropriate behavior around other dogs.

Claire was not negligent with “Lily”. She got books and she worked with “Lily”, but for the first year of “Lily’s” life she did not have the support of a professional trainer, she did not know how to apply the training to her life and the result was she no longer wanted to keep her dog. The emotional and financial investment she had made in her wonderful puppies physical well-being was at risk of being wasted.

invest in trainingThe good news is Beth convinced Claire to seek help from the trainer she used for Spencer. By the time Lily was two years old, she was trained just as well as her brother. Lily no longer destroyed things, jumped or nipped at people could walk while keeping the leash loose, would come when called and was no longer showing inappropriate behaviors around other dogs.

In the end Lily and Spencer had great manners and were well trained but Claire had experienced twice the expense, a tremendous amount of frustration and almost did not keep her dog because she did not understand the value of having a support system over time, how to train her dog and how to apply the training to her busy life. It is not so much a question of whether you can afford training classes, it is more a question of can you afford to not take training classes.

How Crate Training Benefits Owners

crateUsed properly crates have many benefits for a dog owner. They can give the owner piece of mind that the dog is safe and not chewing up the house, greatly speed up the house-training process, give owners more options when traveling and provide the needed confinement necessary for some medical problems. To reap the benefits of a crate the dog is going to need to be comfortable being crated.

Having a dog that can be in the crate without displaying anxiety gives the owner more freedom, as they don’t have to constantly watch the dog. It also makes it so the owner has a way of controlling the environment so the dog simply has fewer opportunities to misbehave. If a dog has destruction issues, the crate makes it so the dog cannot destroy things when it is not supervised. This is not limited to when owners are away from the house. It could be the owner is in the shower, where it simply cannot supervise the dog.

Many owners will also use the crate when company comes over, so the dog cannot misbehave around the company. This is a common time in which owners simply do not want to bother with having to be consistent with training the dog. This is also a good option if you are unsure about whether the company will follow the rules regarding interactions with the dog.

In addition, a crate can be used to speed up the house-training process. If an owner puts their not yet house-trained dog in the crate half an hour before they will be taking the dog out next, the chance of the dog having an accident is reduced.

Further more, having a dog that can be crated gives owners more options when it comes to traveling. The crate is a way of keeping the dog safe in the car and some hotels or places you visit will feel more comfortable knowing you have a way to contain your dog.

Lastly their will be times in which medical care requires your dog to be accustomed to being crated. When your dog needs to stay at the vet office, it will be put into a small cage. I would hate for the dog to have a more traumatic experience at the vet, just because it was not crate trained. If your dog experiences an injury, part of the healing process may also require your dog to have limited activity and to be crated for long periods of time.

Choosing and Setting Up A Crate

Crates can be made out of plastic, wood, metal or fabric. If your dog is a chewer, the metal crate is best choice and the fabric crate is the worst choice. The crate needs to be the correct size for your dog. Your dog needs to be able to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably, but extra room is not recommended. If you are buying a crate for a puppy and want to use the same crate when your dog is mature, you will need to place a box in the back of the puppies crate to reduce the amount of available space. Putting a blanket in the crate is optional. If your dog is not attracted to fabric for elimination and will not destroy the bedding, then by all means make it comfy. Otherwise, your dog will have to earn the privilege of bedding. You may want to put something attractive for your dog to chew on in the crate. Just make sure it is not something that can harm to your dog.

The Rules For Using A Crate

Once you have picked out a crate and set it up you will want to keep these simple rules in mind as you use the crate.

  1. Make sure your dog has a chance to eliminate before it is confined. You want your dog to be comfortable and relaxed when in the crate. Needing to eliminate and not being able to eliminate would be cruel.
  1. Try to be proactive with using a crate, putting your dog in the crate before it misbehaves instead of after. It is best if the association of the crate is not one of punishment.
  1. A dog can only be crated one hour per month of age during waking hours (6am-9pm) and never longer than an 8 hour stretch. Anything longer than this can stress the bowel and bladder pressure, causing both physical and behavioral problems. So a 2 month old puppy can only be crate for 2 hours during the day and then it needs to come out for elimination and play. If your schedule requires longer confinement use a doggie playpen or exercise pen instead.
  1. If your dog is in a state of panic or anxiety in the crate, take it out of the crate and seek professional help.

It is only if your dog is happy and relaxed while in the crate that you will be able to reap the benefits of having a dog that is safe at home, while traveling and at the vet office so take advantage of this article on crate training to ensure your dog can be happy and relaxed in a crate.

If you want to reap the benefits of crate training but are struggling with the process give me a call @ 541-603-6868, I can help.

Crate Training Made Easy

crateTeaching Your Dog To Be Happy and Relaxed In The Crate

If you have a dog that is fearful and wont go in the crate, take your time. Place food just inside the door; let your dog reach in for the food. You will want to keep the confidence of your dog high, so resist the temptation to help or force your dog. Go Slow until your dog can confidently go up and eat the food, systematically, put food further and further back in this comfy den. It might take a couple weeks to accomplish this.

Once it is easy to get your dog in and out of the crate, close the door but do not latch it. Feed your dog little pieces of food through the door. Open the door, but as you do so feed your dog pieces of food. You want your dog to wait with the door open. When you are ready say “out” or “release” and let your dog get out.

If your dog did not panic or show distress about having to stay in the crate, start feeding you dog in the crate. At meal times, tell your dog “get it” and toss one piece of food into the crate. After your dog gets in, put your dog’s food in the crate and close the door. Sit right by the crate as your dog eats. When your dog is done with its food and before it vocalizes, open the door and hand your dog pieces of food with the door open to help your dog wait, tell the dog it can get out and let it get out of the crate.

You can expand the amount of time your dog spends in the crate, by putting it in the crate and giving it something wonderful to chew on. Just make sure this is something that cannot harm your dog. You will want to do this after your dog has had a chance to empty its bowels and bladder and has had some exercise. In the beginning, stay close to the crate. As your dog settles down to chew and is having a good time, you can slowly migrate away.   If your dog fusses or vocalizes in the crate, do not go towards the crate. You don’t want to reward vocalizing, instead stay where you are or move away. Wait until there are at least 2 minutes of quiet and then go give your dog a piece of food for being quiet. Move away and go back and give food for quiet behavior a couple of times before your begin the procedure for letting your dog out of the crate. The exception to this is if your dog is in a state of panic. Under those circumstances, let your dog out and seek professional help.

Teaching your dog to get in the crate on command

You will want to keep the rules for using a crate in mind as you get your dog accustomed to spending time in the crate in a positive supportive fashion. In addition, I would not start this training exercise until your dog can be happy and relaxed in the crate.

With the door all the way open, let your dog see you toss a piece of food or treat into the crate. Dogs that do not already have a fear will go rushing in for the food. When your dog has eaten the food, toss a piece of food on the floor about 5 feet  the door. Then repeat and toss another piece of food into and out of the crate. Continue until you have a dog that is running in and out for the food.

Once it is easy to get your dog in and out of the crate, you can tell your dog “get in” and then toss the food in the crate. Now before letting your dog out, close the door, but do not latch it. Feed your dog little pieces of food through the door. Open the door, but as you do so feed your dog pieces of food. You want your dog to wait with the door open. When you are ready say “out” or “release” and let your dog get out.

The key to having a dog that is happy and relaxed while being crated is to ensure the dog has pleasant experiences while in the crate and to not rush the process for dogs that have some degree of fear or distaste for of this comfy den.


Having Your Dog In Public Is A Training Privledge

in publicThe average American thinks training a dog is an event that happens during a relatively short period of their dog’s life (6-8 weeks). They attend group or private classes for a certain number of weeks and once it is over they think, !the dog is trained! and they no longer work with their dog. But people who have the goal of having their dog attend public events, go into stores, restaurants, hikes and attend family vacations or even just want to have company come over, understand the value of attending formal classes for a much longer period of time. In Europe you will routinely see dogs in public, lying calmly under the table inside a restaurant, inside stores etc. We never gained this privilege in the US, because most Americans do not train their dog long enough or to the extent necessary to allow this privilege.

The average beginning class gives owners time to master the barest basics necessary to have their dog under control in public. Both the dog and the owner have much better skills than before they started but the dog’s skills are not adequate for difficult distractions or maintaining their self-control over a long period of time. Although the owner has the knowledge of what to do to help their dog behave in public, this knowledge is not a part of them yet. They do not react instinctively and must think hard to know what to do when the dog misbehaves. Usually this lapse of time causes the dog to receive an inadvertent reward for naughty behavior. By spending time attending advanced classes and applying this training in public dogs and owners gain the skills, knowledge and confidence to be welcome in public because they display calmness and ease.